- single and care for a child younger than 8 years, or
- have a partner and care for a child younger than 6 years
- meet an income and assets test
Eligibility & payment rates
Eligibility for Parenting Payment
Parenting Payment is paid to the principal carer of a child. Only 1 parent or guardian can be the principal carer and receive the payment. You may qualify for Parenting Payment as a parent, grandparent, or foster carer, if:
- you are single and care for at least 1 child younger than 8 years of age, or
- you have a partner and care for at least 1 child younger than 6 years of age, and
- the income and assets of both you and your partner if you have one are below certain amounts
- you meet residence requirements
- you agree to have a Job Plan if you have Mutual Obligation Requirements
- you meet Mutual Obligation Requirements if needed
You may have Mutual Obligation Requirements as a principal carer.
Read more about Mutual Obligation Requirements and exemptions for principal carer.
Payment rates for Parenting Payment
The amount of Parenting Payment you get depends on your family situation. The rates are updated on 20 March and 20 September each year.
|Family situation||Maximum fortnightly payment|
|Single||$725.40 (includes the Pension Supplement)|
|Couple, separated due to illness, respite care, or prison||$561.80|
Income and assets tests for Parenting Payment
The amount of Parenting Payment you get depends on the income and assets of both you and your partner, if you have one.
Residence requirements for Parenting Payment
To be eligible for Parenting Payment you must satisfy residence requirements. You must be an Australian resident and you must:
- have been an Australian resident for a period, or periods, that total 104 weeks, or
- be exempt from this requirement, for example, if you are a refugee or have become a lone parent during your most recent period of Australian residence
You must also:
- meet residence requirements on the day you lodge your claim. Generally you will need to be physically present in Australia on the day you lodge your claim, and
- continue to meet the residence requirements for as long as you get this payment
If you have lived or worked in a country with which Australia has an international social security agreement, it may help you meet these residence requirements.
Depending on your circumstances, you may need to wait for a period of time before receiving your first income support payment.
Other benefits while receiving Parenting Payment
If you qualify for Parenting Payment, you may also be entitled to other payments and services, such as:
Check if you are eligible for this payment before you start your claim.
Once you have read about eligibility, the next steps are:
- find out what you need before you start your claim
- begin a claim
- submit your claim
- provide your supporting documentation
We will assess your claim and let you know the outcome
Managing your payment
Mutual Obligation Requirements
Mutual Obligation Requirements are activities you need to do to continue to get your income support payment and increase your chances of finding work.
Change of circumstances while receiving Parenting Payment
When you are receiving a payment you need to tell us if your circumstances change, for example:
- your child stops living with you
- another child comes into your care
- your relationship changes and you become partnered
- your relationship changes and you are no longer partnered
- your personal circumstances change
- you are getting child support payments, and the amount changes
- you change your address
- your income changes
- you do not have to lodge a tax return
- your care arrangements change
- your work or study load changes
- you leave Australia
If you do not tell us about the changes within 14 days your payment may be affected. You may be overpaid benefits and you have to pay the money back.
If you deliberately do not tell us about changes, you could be charged with fraud, and a recovery fee may be imposed.
Mutual Obligation Requirements while receiving Parenting Payment
If you receive Parenting Payment (single), from the time your youngest child turns 6 years of age you will have compulsory part time Mutual Obligation Requirements. These activities could include looking for work, taking a course or other study, participating in an approved activity or working part time.
Advance payment options
You may be eligible to receive part of your Centrelink payment in advance. Accessing an advance payment depends on the type of payment you receive, how long you have been receiving it and the amount that you receive.
Parenting Payment while travelling outside Australia
If you or your children leave Australia to live in another country, your payment will stop on departure unless you're eligible for Parenting Payment under an international social security agreement.
If you or your children leave Australia temporarily, you can continue being paid for the first 6 weeks that you are overseas.
You may be able to be paid for more than 6 weeks if you are:
- studying outside Australia as part of a full time Australian course, or
- attending a training camp with the Defence Reserves
If you or your children leave Australia for more than 6 weeks, return and then leave again within 6 weeks, your Parenting Payment will stop immediately on your or your children's next departure.
When you need to tell us of your travel outside Australia
You should tell us if you or your dependent children are leaving Australia and:
- will be away for longer than 6 weeks
- are paid under the terms of a social security agreement, or
- are travelling on a cruise ship and have not been back in Australia for 6 weeks since your last absence
Otherwise you do not need to tell us if you are leaving Australia. We will be advised automatically by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection when you leave Australia and when you return.
Weekly payment option
You can receive your income support payment weekly, instead of fortnightly, in certain circumstances.
How much you earn affects your payment. We need to know what you have earned each fortnight so you are paid the right amount.
Transfer to Age Pension
If you are age pension age and receiving an eligible Centrelink income support payment, you can apply to transfer to Age Pension.
What to do if your account is overdrawn
There is support available to help you manage your money if you have overdrawn your bank, building society or credit union account.
Information you need to know about your claim
Helping Young Parents
If you are aged 19 or younger, receive Parenting Payment and live in 1 of 10 selected Local Government Areas, we will provide you with extra assistance as part of our Helping Young Parents measure.
We will ask you to meet with us every 6 months from when your child turns 6 months old. When your child turns 1, we will meet with you to help you develop a plan that suits you so you can work toward achieving your Year 12 Certificate or an equivalent qualification. We will also give you information about local services that are available to assist you in caring for your children.
Skills for Education and Employment
A program to help develop speaking, reading, writing or basic maths skills to improve the chances of you getting and keeping a job.
Read more about Skills for Education and Employment
Select the options that describe your circumstances then explore a suggested list of possible Centrelink and Medicare payments and services online.
Select your state and topics of interest to find links to government and community organisation support.
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